The Hugo Award kerfuffle

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Jedi Master Spock
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The Hugo Award kerfuffle

Post by Jedi Master Spock » Fri Sep 11, 2015 1:16 pm

In some sense, I'm following up on G2K's post here and my comment there.
2046 wrote:Hugo Puppies
I heard nothing about Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies until recently, but basically some sci-fi conservatives got fed up with the lefty hipster bent to modern sci-fi and the selections of Hugo Awards in particular and organized into a nomination bloc for the Hugos. So the leftists organized and got a whole bunch of friends to sign up as final voters and then ensured that no awards were given in the final voting.

Basically, then, a maligned resistance group organized and scored a mini-coup, so the existing regime called in a proverbial board invasion to assist in shutting the whole enterprise almost completely down, giving no awards at all in most categories and ignoring native English-speaking science fiction altogether but for crap like Guardians of the Galaxy. They call this "victory" and also call the conservatives racist for those insidious racial terms like "ChiCom" (Chinese communist, a term with no racial bent I am aware of).

Don't get me wrong ... I appreciate a good strategic self-destruct. Those Klingon bastards did kill his son, after all, and Anakin did offer the Jedi Cruiser and all its embarked crew to aid Ryloth.

But in this case the irony is that the leftists have confirmed absolutely everything the maligned resistance group had been saying all along. Sure, it probably had more to do with like-mind groupthink than an organized leftist conspiracy, but now the leftist conspiracy really and truly exists, openly, and feels sufficiently good about themselves to really turn up the stupid.

So much for the Hugo Awards being a meaningful accolade. Like with the political nonsense that detracted from the work of the Trekonomics guy, they're too busy applauding needless insertions of shout-outs to modern leftism than focusing on, y'know, the sci-fi.

C'est la vie.


Edit: This is the best rundown I have seen so far, including actually explaining what the hell puppies have to do with it.
Jedi Master Spock wrote:It's slightly more complicated than left / right. This has been brewing for several years, and I've been watching the rising tension in literary SF&F fandom for several years.

There are two dimensions: Pro- / anti- politicization of fandom and the genre; and then left / right.

The first major push was from pro-politicization left-wing forces. Right-wing fans and authors had a fairly hostile response to this (once they started to respond), whether or not they were in favor of politicizing the genre and fandom in their own direction or opposed to politicization. Left-wing anti-politicization fans and authors were left in a very awkward position, as the people in positions of power within traditional fandom tended to be left-wing pro-politicization.

See, for example, Eric Flint, who stayed mostly quiet until recently and AFAIK is still on the good side of both some of the Sad Puppies and some of the anti-Puppies ("Puppy Kickers," if you will). He's been alternating between conciliatory statements and condemnations of extremism by either side.

You've got a couple misses in the statement. Five categories were No Awarded (short story, novella, both editor categories, and related work). That left two literary fiction category awards (novel and novelette), the alternate-media fiction categories (graphic novel, "long-form drama" (movie), "short-form drama" (TV show)) and an assortment of other miscellaneous categories.

No Award WAS ranked over virtually all Sad Puppy and Rabid Puppy nominees, with the main exception being Guardians of the Galaxy. It was a fairly clear case of bloc voting against Puppy nominees.
I don't actually have time at the moment to post a lot more content, but I'll give a link round-up for people less familiar with the controversy to start exploring. These links will take you directly to the source - there has been a lot of press coverage of very mixed accuracy and very little neutrality.

Philip Sandifer is starting a project called "Weird Kitties." This is intended as a response (or counter-slate, if you will) to Sad Puppies.
Making Light is hosted on Patrick Nielsen-Hayden's website. Patrick & Teresa Nielsen-Hayden are insiders' insiders who work at Tor Books, and Making Light has been the epicenter of anti-Puppy defense organization. Of particular note is that the Making Light commenter community put together a major nomination process reform initiative, called E Pluribus Hugo, to try and prevent the Puppies from continually locking up the nominations in the future. EPH has been approved this year, and if approved again next year, will be implemented for the 2017 Hugos.
George R. R. Martin's livejournal. In some ways, GRRM has been one of the more moderate voices speaking out in defense of the "insider" WorldCon clique. He did not endorse voting for "No Award," but he has been consistently anti-Puppy and also handed out some consolation awards, called "Alfies," to people he felt should have won the Hugos this year.
File 770. The author (Glyer) and readership of File 770 are mostly anti-Puppy, but their coverage has been fairly comprehensive. The commenter community is something to pay attention to.
Eric Flint's website. Eric Flint has spoken up only a few times, but he's been a key non-hostile neutral player. He's suggested some reforms to the Hugos, and his Hugo-related posts are well worth reading.
Mad Genius Club. A website/blog shared by a bunch of relatively like-minded authors (like-minded, at least, in terms of the Puppy controversy.) The commenter community more or less corresponds to the Sad Puppy version of the commenter community on Making Light.
Brad Torgersen's website. The titular head and organizer of Sad Puppies 3, although perhaps not the loudest voice.
Larry Correia's website. The originator of Sad Puppies. His posts are heavily commented on (again, a sort of "community of commenters" there).
Vox Day's website. The authoritative place to look to see what Rabid Puppies are about, in their own words.
Sad Puppies 4 website. Sad Puppies 4 is underway with its own dedicated website.

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Re: The Hugo Award kerfuffle

Post by Jedi Master Spock » Sat Sep 12, 2015 8:25 pm

The first thing that's interesting about this is that many of the very visible characters in the drama are ones eligible for awards - and that almost every one of them insists that it isn't about their own prospects for an award, but concern for those other than themselves; while the opposing side is motivated by a crass desire to gain awards for their own work.

For example, on the anti-Puppy side, the preferred account of Sad Puppies' origins (among those, at least, who understand that Sad Puppies pre-dates #GamerGate, and is actually separate from it) is that Correia was nominated for a Hugo Award, lost, and decided to organize a campaign to get himself a Hugo Award. Other authors involved with Sad Puppies did so in order to try to cheat their way into an award. (This year, Correia was nominated and declined, perhaps to address those criticisms; Torgersen made a point of not including his own eligible novel on the Sad Puppies slate, although he was nearly nominated anyway.)

On the Puppy side, the preferred account of the anti-Puppy motivations includes the claim that Scalzi, Glyer, and the Nielsen-Haydens are motivated by a reactionary defense of their own future prospects of continuing to win awards. Another popular idea among Puppies is that Tor Books has been controlling Hugo nominations and award voting via coordinated voting by Tor employees.

Crass self-interest is not a bad motive to consider.

The first thing that comes up, visibly, is that for most authors, pissing off readers and fans by wading into either side of this controversy is likely to lose you existing readers. If you are an author with an existing readership of ordinary fans, some percentage of them will be irritated by you taking a side, and decide to stop buying your books.

This is bad. The only time this can help you sell more books is if more fans will respond by buying books from you because of your partisan position. So how does that work? I think you need at least two out of the three following conditions:
  • Your work is only going to appeal to members of one "side" anyway. This is possibly true of heavy-handed message fiction, but considering the fairly broad popularity of Robert A. Heinlein and C. S. Lewis, who were never shy of pushing a message with their fiction, you probably have to be both heavy-handed and not terribly entertaining as a writer.
  • You don't have much of an established readership, so you won't be losing many readers by offending them.
  • You can expect to get a lot of free publicity, introducing you to a lot of potential new readers (only some of whom will be angry at you).
Individually, I don't think any of these conditions are that unusual, but you need at least two. I would say that most authors wading in are not motivated by the prospect of professional gains. George R. R. Martin only stands to lose readers by involving himself in the controversy. The same is true of John Scalzi or Larry Correia. I even suspect it's true of John C. Wright. Offended fans justify their feelings by making a post facto determination of the literary quality of the work.

This is not true of publishers. SF&F book publishers have not had a very strong brand identity visible among the broader base of science fiction readers. (Many prominent authors in the field have, over the years, published through many different publishers.) Having one or another publisher's logo on the spine of a book sitting on the shelf tells a reader relatively little about the book.

Readers like to know what a book will be like before they buy it. Their clues are the author's name, the cover art, the title, the marketed genre, and the publisher. It's hard to sell books by relatively unknown authors. If a publisher can establish a known brand identity, then they can sell works by authors who don't have an existing reputation - on the strength of their reputation as a publisher with a brand identity.

Tor has staked out a left-wing pro-politicization stance. Baen has staked out a clear anti-politicization stance. Castalia House, a very new publishing house run by Vox Day, is, I think, staking out a right-wing pro-politicization stance. (Some debates exist about what exactly motivates Vox Day.) Each one is gaining visibility as a company, a necessary foundation to a clear brand identity; each is also using the opportunity to talk about what it means for a book to be a TOR BOOK, a BAEN BOOK, or a CASTALIA HOUSE BOOK.

Vox Day stands to gain a lot as a publisher from the controversy, even if he doesn't stand to gain much as an author. His involvement (and his ability to build the Castalia House brand identity) can be explained by self-interest.

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Re: The Hugo Award kerfuffle

Post by Mr. Oragahn » Tue Sep 29, 2015 7:50 pm

The accusation of racism relies on three point these days:

1. It uses the contemporary and much adjusted, say manipulated definition. I searched about it and it's quite clear that an ideological (almost one-sided) battle took place on that front for redifining the term in a very specific way.

2. It carries enough legal power in many occidental countries to be used as a bullying tool, a way to threaten people and silence them, possbily have the targeted people conform to a given form of political correctness that stiffles any decent debate that could still be had fourty years ago.

3. It is applied to anyone who has strong conservative opinions and refuses to accept X or Y; these X and Y now becoming progressively unrelated to the topic of race altogether (or whatever you understand by that)!

It is, of course, massively used by leftists, the PC plebe and the random SJW. You can't even have an open discussion with people of either sides as soon as some kind of do-gooding extremist gets triggered: the intrepid use of this form of slander immediately draws a line and puts the slandered ones on the presumed illegal side of the fence.
/debate

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2046
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Re: The Hugo Award kerfuffle

Post by 2046 » Thu Oct 01, 2015 3:03 pm

Shut up, racist. It would be Oragahn with his long history of racism to decry folks being called racist. Check your privilege! "Wrong side of the fence"? See, he can't help but imagine folks back in the ghettos!

… and boom, that's how simple it is to sling such slander. This is why most such claims should be assumed to come from complete @ssholes and morons, which is unfortunate since it only serves to give real racists ample cover.

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Re: The Hugo Award kerfuffle

Post by Cocytus » Sat Oct 10, 2015 1:47 am

2046 wrote:Shut up, racist. It would be Oragahn with his long history of racism to decry folks being called racist. Check your privilege! "Wrong side of the fence"? See, he can't help but imagine folks back in the ghettos!

… and boom, that's how simple it is to sling such slander. This is why most such claims should be assumed to come from complete @ssholes and morons, which is unfortunate since it only serves to give real racists ample cover.
Really, 2046, you give them too much credit. You didn't even type in all caps.

YOU RACIST SHITLORD ORAGAHN, VILE RACISM APOLOGIST SCUMBAG CISGENDERED PRIVILEGED SEXIST TRANSMISOGYNIST RAPIST WHITE MALE OPPRESSOR. I LITERALLY CANNOT EVEN DEAL WITH THIS RIGHT NOW. LITERALLY KILL YOURSELF.

That's how its done.

These people love to talk about hate speech, which is what they label any speech they disagree with. I have an idea, why don't we make the accusation of racism and sexism hate speech. I imagine the density of that panty bunch would take a multiphase tractor beam to unravel.

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Re: The Hugo Award kerfuffle

Post by 2046 » Wed Oct 14, 2015 8:43 pm

Cocytus wrote:That's how its done. {… } the density of that panty bunch would take a multiphase tractor beam to unravel.
Well played, sir.

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